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ORIENTED DRILLCORE: MEASUREMENT AND CALCULATION PROCEDURES FOR STRUCTURAL AND EXPLORATION GEOLOGISTS

CONTENTS Drillcore orientation types Drill core measurement procedures Geometrical relationships Using GeoCalculator to solve the geometry Manual stereographic plotting procedures Statistical data bias QA/QC: Error detection and control Using classified and numeric stereographic projections in exploration Introduction to HCO wrap-around beta angle protractor templates

The manual and templates are copyright to HolcombeCoughlinOliver. The manual can be downloaded and used and distributed freely provided that it is not modified in any way, including retention of all HCO logos and this cover page. Template pages can be used individually provided all logo information is retained. Check our website at: HTTP://www.holcombecoughlinoliver.com/HCO_downloads for the latest updates.

Rod Holcombe

HolcombeCoughlinOliver 2011

DRILLCORE ORIENTATION TYPES Unoriented drillcore During core drilling, runs of core (commonly ~ 3 metres long) are extracted from a core barrel at a time. The extraction process rotates the core randomly, so that once the core is laid out in core boxes its original orientation is lost, although the orientation of the core axis is generally known. Various down-hole surveying techniques are available for this, and the common usage of 3-D modelling software has lead to holes being generally very well surveyed. Oriented drillcore Various methods (mechanical, optical, etc) are available during drilling to identify the orientation of a run of core. Commonly this involves identifying the lowermost point on the top face of what is to be the next run of core. As many methods use gravity to find the lowermost point, the process is generally only feasible in holes with a non-vertical plunge (generally <70). The orientation mark, along with local knowledge, allows the core to be uniquely oriented in space. Oriented core has an orientation mark (OM) along the core marking either the lowermost or topmost line along an inclined drillhole (called the bottom mark (BM) or top mark, respectively). The orientation of structures in oriented Orientation line on core. The barbs point core can be determined in two ways: 1. by reorienting the core using either down-hole that is away from the collar, even a bucket of sand or a mechanical if the hole is directed upwards from jig and measuring the structures underground. as you would in outcrop; 2. by measuring several critical angles on the core and then using either software or stereographic projection to calculate the true geological orientation. The bulk of this document concerns these types of measurement and plotting procedures. Partially oriented drillcore If nothing else is known about the orientation of a planar bedding surface (for example) visible in unoriented core, it would require three differently oriented drill holes to solve the geometrical problem to determine the orientation of constant dipping, planar bedding planes. However, if we know something else about the plane, such as its general dip, or general strike direction then we would only need two drill holes. If, however, we can be specific about one or other of these directions then we may only need a single drill hole to solve the orientation problem. 'Partially oriented' core is core in which a local reference plane whose orientation is well known (such as bedding, cleavage, etc) can be recognised. Only partial knowledge of the orientation of this reference plane need be known (e.g. dip direction/strike, or even just the local fold axis) in order to solve the orientation of the unknown plane.

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Drillcore angle conventions Various conventions are used to reference angles in oriented or partially oriented drill core.

Software, such as GeoCalculator (http://www.holcombe.net.au/software/) can be used to convert angles measured from such core into geographical structural readings. All planes intersecting drill core have an elliptical cross-section in the core. The apical trace of this ellipse is the line subtended along the core from one end of the long axis, formed by the intersection of the plane that contains the ellipse long axis, the ellipse normal, and the core axis. Similarly, the apical trace of a Line, is defined by the intersection with the core of a plane containing the core axis and parallel to the line (i.e., passing through the central axis of the core). Measurement conventions used in the While Greek letter naming conventions are discussion and protractor templates here are: universal for drillhole data, there has been alpha angle: the acute angle between the inconsistency in the actual letters and usage. core axis and the long axis of the ellipse The alpha-beta letter conventions defined here (0-90). are those currently in common usage (although (Alpha angle can also refer to the angle an equivalent delta, alpha convention has precedence in the literature). between the core axis and a line that passes through the centre of the core). beta angle: the angle between a reference line along the core and the ellipse apical trace measured in a clockwise sense (0-360). In oriented core, the reference line is the orientation mark or bottom mark and the beta angle of the apical trace of the ellipse is measured clockwise from this line. In partially oriented core the reference line is the apical trace of the reference plane ellipse, and the beta angle is the angle between this apical trace and the apical trace of an unknown plane or line. gamma angle of a line lying within a plane: angle, measured within the plane, between the long axis of the ellipse and the line. Different conventions are in use (360 clockwise, 180). core axis plunge and plunge direction Note that in this manual, plunge, is used to refer to the inclination angle of a drillhole. This is the correct structural term for the inclination any linear feature (such as a drillhole). However, due to careless nomenclature introduced by pioneers of orientation software, the term dip, reserved for planar objects, has come to be synonymous with plunge within the minerals industry.

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MEASUREMENT PROCEDURES IN ORIENTED CORE Two techniques are common for obtaining the geological orientation of structures in core: Reorienting the core in sand or a mechanical jig and directly measuring the structures using normal field outcrop techniques. This procedure is straightforward and will not be described further; Alpha-beta-gamma measurement of: (i) angle between plane and core axis; (ii) - angle from orientation line measured in a clockwise sense around the core; and (iii) - angle from ellipse long axis to a line lying in the ellipse plane. Measurement of alpha angle 1. Direct measurement by rotating the core until the surface to be measured appears to make a maximum angle with the core axis. This procedure is the easiest method

2. Using the alpha angle lines on the wrap around protractor template included with this manual printed onto transparent film. Base of the protractor alpha angle curves aligned with the base of a bedding ellipse. Alpha angle of 65 read from trace of bedding parallel to alpha curve.

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Measurement of beta angle 1. Mark the apical trace of the plane ellipse along the core. Two possible conventions are in use: to use the down-hole* end of the ellipse, or (less commonly) to use the up-hole end of the ellipse. If the convention used is to take the bottom of the ellipse then ensure that this line joins the lowest point of curvature of the plane in the core.

If the surface to be measured is a fine cleavage then it is easiest to mark cleavage traces around the core in order to determine the points where the fabric is perpendicular to the core axis.

2. Hold the core such that you are looking toward the base of the hole. The beta angle is the angle measured clockwise between the orientation mark and the apical trace of the plane. Accurate measurement of the beta angle can be made using either specially constructed circular protractors or, more simply a flexible wrap-around protractor printed on paper or heavy transparent film such as the ones supplied with this document. (Transparent film is best). Orient the wrap-around protractor with the 0 degree line on the orientation mark and the arrows on this zero line pointing down-hole*. In the example the beta angle between the black orientation line (with down-hole arrows) and the apical line of bedding (green) is 295. *Down-hole means in the direction away from the start (collar) of the core, irrespective as to whether that is geographically oriented upward or downward. This is sometimes called the down-metres direction.

Using a protractor printed on transparent film it is easier to see the lines drawn on the core.
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Measurement of surfaces parallel to the core As described in a later section, bias is commonly introduced by avoiding measuring planes that are parallel to the core axis. Presumably the reason such measurements are skipped is because there is no well-defined ellipse. If the surface is perfectly parallel to the core axis then the alpha angle is zero. In the example below, although the bedding undulates a little and is offset by small faults, it is effectively parallel to the core axis.

To estimate the apical line in order to measure the beta angle: 1. Identify the orientation of a line lying in the surface perpendicular to the core axis 2. Let this line orientation pass through the core axis 3. Where the line through the core axis meets the core surface draw a line parallel to the core axis. There are two possible such lines on either side of the core. If the surface is truly parallel to the core axis then either of the two axis-parallel lines can be used as the apical line for measuring the beta angle. (That is, for zero alpha angle, a beta angle of 90 is exactly the same as a beta angle of 270). If the surface is slightly inclined (alpha angle is not zero) then choose the axis-parallel line that would project down to meet the bottom of the ellipse if it could be seen. Estimate the alpha angle (generally 03 for this scenario). The simplest procedure is when the surface to be measured can be seen on the end of the core segment and this end break is perpendicular to the core axis (as shown in the diagram). It is only slightly more complex when the end section cannot be accessed: Identify two equivalent points on the core surface that would lie on a line perpendicular to the core axis Using a beta angle protractor, measure the absolute angle between the two points around the core circumference Identify the point on the circumference that divides this angle by two and draw a line parallel to the core axis. This line is one of the two possible apical lines. The other is on the core diametrically

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opposite. As above, if the alpha angle is zero choose either line. If the alpha angle is non-zero then select the line that would subtend to meet the bottom of the ellipse if it could be seen. Subdividing the angle between opposite points on the plane. Here a cut-out template is in use for measuring beta angle.

Marking the apical line

Measuring the beta angle

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Measurement of lines in core Two procedures can be used to measure lines in oriented core: 1. Treat the line as if it were the long axis of an ellipse and measure its alpha and beta angles. To do this you must subtend the line through the centre of the core and mark the apical line along the core from where the end of the subtended line. Proceed to measure the alpha and beta angles in the same way as for a plane. 2. Measure the gamma () angle of the line within a plane that has already been measured. Ensure that the same conventions used to identify the ends of the ellipse long axis are used. That is, if the convention in use is to measure beta angles to the down-hole end of the ellipse, then use the down-hole end of the ellipse to measure the gamma angle. Two conventions are in use for the gamma angle: 1. +ve (clockwise) or ve angle (0-180) from the ellipse long axis; 2. 360 clockwise angle (preferred as it is a single unambiguous number) MEASUREMENT IN PARTIALLY ORIENTED CORE In partially oriented core the orientation mark is the apical trace of a reference plane whose orientation is known or partly known. The only difference to the procedures described for oriented core is that of using this reference plane apical trace from which to measure beta angles of other planes. Although the calculations can be performed using a precise reference plane orientation, a more robust procedure is to record the alpha angle of the reference plane ellipse, and use only its dip direction to define it. The calculations then use the dip direction to calculate the most likely dip angle, and from there calculate the orientation of the other unknown planes and lines.

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GEOMETRICAL RELATIONSHIPS IN ORIENTED CORE

The stereo diagram shows the geometrical relationships used to solve oriented core problems. Note that the normal to the plane forming the ellipse lies somewhere along a small circle with an opening angle of 90- (= the angle , in the figure above). The critical relationship is that the plane containing the long axis of the ellipse and the core axis also contains the normal to the ellipse plane. Finding this normal is the principal solution of most oriented core calculations. The stereographic projection procedure is outlined later in this manual, but in general the solutions are obtained by spreadsheets or computer packages such as our GeoCalculator (http//www.holcombe.net.au/software/). An important construction plane is the measurement plane, normal to the core axis. Because beta and gamma angles commonly use 360-degree clockwise conventions, care must be taken during manual calculation to preserve the upward or downward sense of the line or ellipse axis. Although the direct stereographic solution is shown later, a visually unambiguous way to preserve these line senses, is to construct the planes relative to a vertical axis, and then rotate the axis, and the solution, into its true orientation.

Oriented core manual

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GEOMETRICAL RELATIONSHIPS IN PARTIALLY ORIENTED CORE Techniques using partially oriented core are not generally described in the structural literature, yet they provide a powerful tool to unravel structure from old, unoriented, core, or to extract structural information from the unoriented parts of oriented core, using the orientations found in the oriented parts. The critical factor is that a specific, relatively planar, structural fabric can be recognised throughout the core. This is called the reference plane, and the apical trace of its ellipse is used as the orientation mark for all core beta angle measurements. The algorithms for solving partially oriented core are equivalent to using the known orientation of the reference plane to back-calculate where the theoretical bottom mark would have been on the core, relative to the apical trace of the reference plane ellipse long axis. Thus, the orientation of any other unknown plane can be calculated as for the oriented core procedures above. The accuracy and confidence of results using the partially oriented core technique relies strongly on how well the reference plane orientation is known. Precision is best when the reference plane normal is at a high angle to the core axis (i.e the alpha angle of the reference plane ellipse is large), but at very high alpha angles it is difficult to define the ellipse long axis. Commonly the strike or dip direction is better constrained than the actual dip of the reference plane. Or the orientation of a cylindrical (straight) fold axis might be wellconstrained, although the orientation of the reference plane is quite variable. In most instances, the full orientation of the reference plane can be calculated provide that the alpha angle of the reference plane is also measured. The drawback is that, in some instances, there are two solutions for the full orientation of the reference plane and a decision must be made as to which is most likely. The figure summarises the geometrical relationships used to determine the full orientation of a reference plane given only its dip direction. We know that the normal to the reference plane lies in the small circle with opening angle of 90-alpha (the delta angle). The critical point is to find another line in the plot that also contains the normal. One is the vertical plane containing the dip direction (i.e the plane normal to the strike). Another,

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not shown here, is the pi-girdle plane normal to a cylindrical fold axis. Note that, except in the tangential case, there will always be two solutions for the normal and we need to know something else about the orientation of the reference plane in order to choose the correct one. The simplest situation is to use the dip direction. For example, in the diagram above the only correct solution is the great circle with a southerly dip direction (Figure right), and from that the remainder of the geometry can be calculated as described for oriented core in a later section.

Two ambiguous solutions can occur (Fig. right); particularly when the small circle is small (the alpha angle is large). When this occurs something more needs to be known about the reference plane (such as does it have a steep or a shallow dip)? In some situations the two answers can become close enough that it is impossible to choose the correct solution. For this reason, care must be taken to examine such ambiguous solutions when using software to perform the calculations. Our package, GeoCalculator, will produce the best-fit solution as the primary solution, but then set out the ambiguous alternatives for the reference plane solution, which you need to check manually.

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USING GEOCALCULATOR TO PROCESS DRILLCORE DATA (GeoCalculator can be downloaded from: http://www.holcombe.net.au/software/)

Whether drill-hole orientation is in terms of plunge* or zenith** Whether drill-hole orientation uses a +ve angle for upward holes or downward holes Whether the orientation mark is a top mark or bottom mark Whether the alpha angle used is between the core axis and the ellipse long axis or the ellipse normal (the delta angle) Whether beta and gamma angles are measured relative to the up-hole or down-hole end of the ellipse long axis Whether gamma angles are measured as a 360 clockwise angle or as a 180 angle

1. Set the measurement conventions:


* Plunge is the correct term for the angle of inclination of a line such as a drillhole. The term dip to refer to the plunge angle has become entrenched in the mining industry (because of careless usage by some of the early orientation software packages). ** Zenith is the complement of the plunge. It is the angle of the hole from the vertical. It is an unusual convention used by some inclinometer manufacturers.

Using GeoCalculator with oriented core 2. Select calculation type and enter values:
of unknow n plane Calculatio n required of unknown plane Core orientation

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Using GeoCalculator with partially oriented core Example: Calculating the orientation of an unknown plane given the dip direction of a known reference fabric plane and its alpha angle in the core:
of reference plane plane of unknown plane of unknown plane

Hole details

Select calculation

This group is for when only part of the reference plane orientation is defined

Select partly known ref.plane information; here it is dip direction

Dip direction of Reference Plane

Select further constraint used if there are two solutions Check that Reference Plane solution is acceptable

This group is for when the reference plane orientation is fully defined

If a second ambiguous solution exists then you may need to check that the second reference plane might not have been a better solution than the one chosen.

Check that if this alternative reference plane is preferred then use this result

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MANUAL STEREOGRAPHIC PLOTTING OF ORIENTED CORE


The conventions assumed for the following description are: Alpha acute angle between core axis and ellipse long axis Beta angle clockwise from bottom mark to bottom of ellipse (looking downmetres). The diagram and description on this page applies specifically to a plane with a small (<90) beta angle. See the following page for how to handle large beta angles.

Procedures Step 1: Plot the core axis (parallel to the bottom mark). This axis is the pole (normal) to the measurement plane great circle. Draw the measurement plane great circle and mark its dip line. This is the bottom mark reference line for measuring the beta angle. (This assumes that the convention used is to mark the bottom of the core, not the top)

Step 2: Count the beta angle along the measurement plane great circle, clockwise from the bottom mark reference line. Draw the great circle through this point and the core axis. This is the plane that contains the normal to the ellipse (the unknown plane). (Be careful here to preserve the sense of direction of the beta angle line see next page)

Step 3: Calculate the delta angle (90-). Using the rules developed on the next page, find the normal to the ellipse (the unknown plane) by counting the delta angle along the calculated great circle. (Use the rules developed on the next page to determine whether to count the delta angle away from, or toward, the beta line). Plot the unknown plane. (The normal is the pole to this plane). Note that we have not used the alpha angle directly. Although we can find the ellipse long axis using the alpha angle this is not sufficient to determine the unique solution for the plane.

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Details of step 2 and 3: preservation of sense of beta direction and sense of counting of delta angle

In our assumed conventions, the beta angle references the angle to the bottom of the ellipse long axis in the core. Care must be taken when finding this beta line in the measurement plane to remember whether it plunges downwards or upwards in the measurement plane, as this affects the sense in which the delta angle is counted. In the calculation described on the previous page, the beta angle is less than 90 (~70), so the sense of plunge of the beta line is downwards (to the NW in the stereo) so we plot it with a filled circle. This means that the long axis of the ellipse must also plunge toward the same quadrant. Hence the delta angle to find the normal is counted from the core axis away from the beta line in order to find the normal. Now consider the case of a beta angle >90 and <270 (the example shown is ~250): In this instance the point representing the beta line is in the same location in the stereo as our =70 example. That is, it still plunges to the NW, but its sense is upward in the measurement plane (so we plot it with an open circle). What this means is that the ellipse long axis is plunging away from the bottom mark, hence the normal will be found by counting the delta angle from the core axis toward the beta line.

The rule for a beta angle >270 is the same as for the <90 case (e.g. the figure shows a beta angle of ~300). That is, the delta angle is counted from the core axis away from the beta line

Put simply the rule is: for beta angles from between 90 and 270 measure the delta angle from the core axis toward the calculated beta intersection line in the measurement plane; for all other beta angles measure the delta angle from the core axis away from the calculated beta intersection line in the measurement plane.

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QA/QC: ERROR DETECTION AND CONTROL Structural measurements derived from oriented drillcore have a range of potential error sources that must be continually monitored and minimised in any large-scale, long-term drilling program. Errors can occur at several stages in the orientation and measurement process: 1. The orientation mark might be imprecise or incorrect. This is a problem with the drillers technique and expertise. For example with a spear tool the tip of the tool should just touch the top of the core run and be lowered slowly, so as not to bounce the spear off the bottom of the hole. The on-site geologists need to monitor the orientation process and impress on the driller the need for precision. 2. The orientation mark may be translated imprecisely onto the core by the logging geologist or technician. Core sections in broken core may be inaccurately aligned when aligning the bottom mark along the core. 3. Errors can arise from imprecise identification of the ellipse long axis or with the alpha and beta angle measurements. 4. Statistical errors can arise from bias in the choice of which features to measure, or even from drillholes that are inappropriately oriented relative to the feature of interest. Errors should be suspected if stereographic projections of poles to planes show small circle distributions centred around the drill-hole orientation. This occurs when the hole intersects a moderately uniformly dipping feature (e.g., bedding, foliation, or sheeted veins) but the core has undergone some degree of random rotation during the marking of the orientation lines. (Note that small circle distributions can occur naturally, but these are uncommon and should show no relationship to the orientation of the drillhole). The two plots above are both from data collected in drill holes oriented 60 east. Although the data contains a strong maximum, the small-circle distribution largely reflects the orientation of the hole (a feature that should never be able to be calculated from good data). Although it might be presumed in this case that the point maximum is correct, all other data needs to be discarded. The appearance of any small circle distributions at all is an indication that all of the orientation data is suspect until the cause is found and eliminated. It is worth monitoring any known constant planar feature (such as a weak crenulation) in the drilled rock simply as a check on the reliability of core orientations. The example at right shows a plot of 102 cleavage data from oriented drillcore in an area

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where this feature was known to be moderately constant. The stereographic projection shows the expected unimodal maximum and a slight great circle that reflects fanning of the cleavage. Thus the core orientation in this area is considered to be quite accurate. For this type of QA/QC monitoring to be successful it is imperative that sufficient measurement data be collected. This is not commonly done in a single drill-hole (although it becomes critical to do so in folded areas). The examples above are from a single prospect with numerous holes of the same orientation. Sources of error and minimisation of error Of all of the available core orientation systems available on the market, the simplest, cheapest, fastest, and most commonly used is the spear. The orientation spear is a long conical rod tipped with a hole for holding a sharpened crayon pencil. It only works on inclined holes. The tool is lowered down the core barrel until it makes a mark on the start of the next section of rock to be drilled. Because of the inclination of the hole the rod lies along the bottom of the barrel and the crayon marks a spot that ideally is close to the lowermost line of the core.

Note that the smaller the core size, the greater is the potential for error. Because the thickness of the spear rod approaches that of the core, NQ core is particularly prone to producing an orientation mark that is too close to the centre of the core to define an accurate bottom line.

Potential errors at the drilling stage: Bending or distortion of the spear rod. Both the supervising geologist and the driller should inspect the spear rod before any new drill hole. Roll the rod on a flat surface to detect distortion. Dropping the spear too fast onto the rock, such that the spear either bounces off the wall of the core barrel or impacts too fast onto the rock and produces several impact marks. Ideally the spear should just touch the rock and then be withdrawn. There should be no

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impact marks at all. (For example, the photo of the crayon spot shown above is from a hole in which orientations were taken every 10 metres. None of the orientation marks in that core show any sign of impact of the spear apart from the crayon mark, a reflection of the drillers care. The photo at right is an example where the spear has dropped so fast that it has impacted, broken the crayon and then bounced making other impact and chatter marks. In some instances, such as the photo at right, the impact is enough to cause chatter marks across the entire core face, or to even chip the edge of the core and destroy the crayon mark. Drilling contracts should contain penalty clauses for unsatisfactory orientation procedures. Most are produced by drillers trying to minimise the downtime required for the orientation procedures. Rather than rush the procedure and make costly geological errors it is better if the drilling contract properly accounts for the time required.

Manually inserted orientation marks. Although it is clearly poor drilling practice, occasionally evidence arises that an orientation mark has been manually inserted. For example, the orientation spot in the core at right is shown by the red arrow. There is clearly a spear impact feature (with no crayon mark) on the opposite side of the core (black arrow). When this core was realigned with adjacent runs it was found that the impact mark, rather then the crayon mark) lined up with the bottom line (yellow arrow) projected from the adjacent core runs. In this instance, the core was produced during a night shift and it is likely that the impact mark was not seen by the person marking the crayon manually. Most long-term geologists have experienced similar stories. One possible way around expensive geological vandalism of this sort is to involve the drillers directly into the geologists world by showing them the end results of poor drilling. I have done this at the start of one drilling program by showing the drillers photographs of some of the good and bad crayon orientation marks Bottom mark shown above and then showing them examples of the position stereographic plots of good and bad results. (Without, of course, going into the detail of what these plots are just as examples of good and bad patterns).

Potential errors at the mark-up stage: Once core with an orientation mark (spot) has been extracted, the next step is to draw a line marking the bottom of the core. This line is generally marked with arrows showing the down-hole sense, and preferably

axis of core

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should be in a different colour to that used to mark the cutting line of the core. (Note that the when core is split for assay, the orientation line should always be on the half that is left in the box). The lines extend as far along the core as it is possible to match broken core segments up. At least one down-hole arrow should occur on every segment of the core. If the core cannot be oriented then do not record an orientation line. No information is better than wrong information. Errors arise with the matching of the line across broken core segments. Note that it is very easy at this stage for small rotation errors to creep in and these affect the accuracy of the beta angle measurements. For this reason it is best if this part of the process is done under very controlled conditions. The core is laid out on a rack of sufficient length to hold at least three or four complete runs of core. Not only should the bottom line be extrapolated along each run of core, it should also, where possible, be matched with the adjacent runs. The best core racks are made of angle-iron of a size such that the edge of the steel frame is exactly at the half-height of the core. The core is then lined up with the bottom line lying along this edge of the angle-iron. Once a full length of core has been lined up correctly then the angle-iron provides a straight-edge to control the drawing of the line. Other racks are made using lengths of drill rod welded together, but these do not provide the useful straight-edge of the angle-iron. Least desirable (and unfortunately most common) is to draw the orientation line directly on the core in the core box.
From top to bottom: Core with blue orientation bottom line and red cutting line Core orientation frame made from angle iron and long enough to hold multiple core runs at one time Core orientation frame made from drill rods bound together Adjacent core runs matched together. The red spot marking the top of the lower run can be seen at the top of the core run to the right. Note the good straight-edge provided by the edge of the angle-iron. Oriented core manual 19 HolcombeCoughlinOliver 2011

Orientation Confidence Scores An element of quality control can be introduced by assigning a confidence level to the precision of the orientation mark. One relatively objective system that I have seen used is to assign a confidence number representing the number of successive core runs across which the orientation mark can be matched. The plot at right shows a set of 750 real data with a pronounced small circle distribution (indicating a severe orientation problem). The plots below show the same data plotted according to the confidence level as defined above , but split into data sets that (from left to right) successively have confidence levels of 1, 2, 3, & 4 or higher (where the higher number denotes greater confidence). Note that it is only when three successive runs or more occur that the data is relatively stable and a confident pattern emerges. In other words, in this drill program, 76% of the data are unreliable, and unless some confidence assignation is applied, none of the data at all are reliable!

1 (55% of the data)

2 (21% of the data)

3 (12% of the data)

4 (12% of the data)

A systematic mark-up procedure The following outlines a systematic procedure for both minimising and quantifying the precision of the core mark-up. It is based on combining a number of the best practices I have seen and, because elements of it involve statistical decisions, it should be at least partly overseen by a geologist. Using the procedure described above, dock as many contiguous runs of core as possible up to some arbitrary limit (say 10). Stop when a natural non-dockable break occurs or you exceed the run limit you have set) Starting with the driller's bottom-of-core mark in the first run, draw a preliminary BOH line in pencil along the rest of the docked core. At each subsequent driller's bottom-of-hole mark record the mismatch, in mm, between this initial pencil line and the bottom-of-core mark. (I'll call this the 'spin'). Record the spin (mismatch) as mm left or right of the initial BOH line (looking down-core). o The amount of angular spin that this mismatch represents depends on the core diameter. For HQ core, 5.5mm represents 10 of rotation (spin) from the previous mark

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o o o

The amount of spin that can be tolerated depends on company protocols for the type and complexity of the deposit In complex terranes it should be no more than ~10-15 Assign -ve values to those left of the initial line; +ve to those right of the line (looking down-core).

Examine the array of recorded spins looking for a natural cluster and estimate the mode. The mode is the central point of the cluster. It need only be approximate for the purposes here. If there is no clear single mode (either because the spins are random or because they are bimodal), then mark the mode as 'none'. Identify outliers (which will be excluded from the following calculation). Outliers are those with a spin >10 (say) from the mode. In some circumstances, the zero value of the initial BOH mark may be an outlier. If there is no clear mode then only exclude very obvious outliers (e.g. below, middle). Calculate a mean value for all the values that are not outliers. This mean will be a number of mm left (-ve) or right (+ve) of the initial BOH line. Assign an ORI Confidence Score between 1-5 o Assign an ORI Confidence Score of 1 if there is no clear single mode (left example, below) o Otherwise, count the number of docked full runs of core in the set up to a maximum score of 5, then subtract 1 for each outlier in the set (example, previous page and below, right) o Single runs of core that cant be docked to adjacent runs will automatically have a score of 1 This confidence score is assigned to all structural data within the scored interval

(The range of core spin should be transmitted back to the driller as part of the QA/QC process) The procedure outlined above can be streamlined so that it can be done efficiently by technical staff, particularly if the entries and calculations are done digitally. However, the process of estimating a mode and eliminating outliers should at the very least be checked by a geologist.

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Errors at the measurement stage Errors of precision. Errors due to measurement imprecision are avoidable by doing all angular measurements to a precision of 1 (even though the measurement process may have an accuracy >1). It is very poor practice in any circumstance to round off geological angles and directions to the nearest 5 or 10 degrees. The result is that such data produces a starfish pattern on stereographic projections (figure, right) and these patterns distort contouring procedures and mask local density accumulations. The effects on precision of rounding alpha and beta angles to the nearest 5 or 10 depends on the 0 alpha angle. The plot at right shows poles to planes with alpha angle varying from 0 to 90 (the small circles), and for each alpha angle the beta angles range from 0 to 360. The plot shows that an error in alpha angle gives the same error in the result, but 90 that an error in the beta angle produces an error in the result that is smaller than that in the beta angle. (For true alpha angles of 0, the error is the same as the error in beta; for alpha angles of 90 the error reduces to zero. (This result reflects the fact that where a plane is perpendicular to the core, the beta angle is irrelevant). Errors of measurement are unavoidable and largely undetectable. The only solution is to institute a regime of care and ensure that the people doing the measurement are aware of the importance of accuracy. Data bias For distinctly spaced planar structures, such as faults, joint sets, and veins, there is a potential statistical frequency bias caused by the linear nature of drill core. The closer such features are oriented to the core axis the less likely it is that they will be intersected. In the diagram at right, the red set of planes is intersected four times in a given length (L) of core; the blue set seven times. However it is clear that the red surfaces are closer spaced, and thus have a greater true frequency, than the blue set. This bias can be partly overcome statistically by applying a correction factor (known as the Terzagghi bias correction) to the apparent frequency. The correction factor, 1/sin , recalculates what the frequency would be if the measurement line was perpendicular to the plane. Alpha is the angle between the planar feature and the core axis and is the same as the alpha angle measured in oriented core procedures. This correction procedure should not be applied to planes where the alpha angle is less than

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about 10, as the sin value increases rapidly, and the correction factor becomes infinitely large. Thus, there may remain an orientation zone within 10-15 of the core axis, which substantially underestimates the true frequency of spaced data. This underestimation for low alpha angles can produce a great circle void normal to the core axis in stereographic plots of poles to the measured planes and lead to a misinterpretation of the orientation patterns. This void is not to be confused with the small circle patterns produced by orientation errors discussed in the next section. The bias procedure described above is only valid for spaced data, where the spacing is greater than the width of the core. Structural fabrics such as bedding lamination or foliation, which are penetrative (i.e. pervasive) at the core width scale, should not be corrected in this way, provided that steps are taken to ensure that the low angle surfaces are measured at the Stereographic plot of 762 randomly same interval as the higher angle surfaces. However I oriented microfaults measured in commonly see a bias introduced by avoiding drillcore from holes plunging 60S measuring such fabrics when the alpha angle is close (red square). to zero (i.e. the fabric is close to parallel with the core Note the great circle void axis). Presumably the lack of a well defined elliptical representing planes lying within intersection with the core is the perceived problem. about 15 of the core axis. This measurement bias can be avoided by simply being aware of the problem and taking positive steps not to miss such data. It might require having to estimate the location of the apical trace of the ellipse in order to determine the beta angle (as described in an earlier section), but the estimation error should be moderately low.

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ORIENTATION DATA ANALYSIS USING CLASSIFIED AND NUMERIC PLOTS Oriented core is required in a variety of terrane and prospect types. It is critical to assessing 3D geometry in prospects containing moderate to strong folding, or arrays of variably oriented faults or shear zones, or of variably oriented mineralised vein systems. It is very important in the analysis of fracture patterns for geotechnical assessment and it is very useful in the statistical analysis of vein patterns. To be useful, measured orientation data should be abundant enough to allow statistical analysis of the data as well as supplying orientation controls on sections. Examples of frequency analysis are shown above by the stereographic plots produced by GEOrient* software. These plots have been produced by copying processed oriented data dip and dip direction columns directly from drill spreadsheets and database tables and then pasting them into GEOrient. In addition to the usual stereographic plots of data frequency, GEOrient also contains a class of classified stereo plot in which the plotted poles can be colour coded according to other attached values or information. One way I have used these plots is to determine whether specific drillholes have contributed to suspect orientation data or whether the misorientation is random. For example in the plot at right, the same 213 foliation data that are shown in the contoured plot above have been replotted, but now colour-coded (that is, classified) according to which set of drillholes each item of structural data has come from. Note that it is clear that the bluecoloured poles (DDH27-36) contribute unduly to the small circle distribution indicating suspect data, whereas the light and dark green poles (DDH37-44) appear to be in the unimodal cluster expected of good data. There are few foliation data from the other drillholes (DDH45-57) but the orientation of these holes also appears to be suspect. Thus in this instance it is clear that there is a very specific sequence of drillholes (27-36) in which the orientations are all suspect and only 26% of the holes contain verifiably reliable data. When the foliation data are plotted using only the good drillholes (figure, right) the small circle distribution has disappeared and the data are quite interpretable. A powerful extension of Classified stereographic projections that I have developed in GEOrient* are Numeric stereographic projections. In these plots, instead of the orientation density being gridded and contoured, the values associated with the orientation data are gridded and contoured. Such plots can show contours of either the orientation distribution of the mean value or of the cumulative sum of the numeric data. For example, I have found these types of plots particularly useful in the analysis of the mineralisation potential of vein arrays, where the values plotted are vein thickness and assay values.

*available from: http://www.holcombe.net.au/software/

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For example, the typical frequency plot shown on the right shows the orientation distribution of normals (poles) to sheeted veins derived from oriented drillhole data. The great circle girdle reflects the uniformly fanned nature of the veins (with the beta symbol parallel to the axis of fanning). The plots shown below are numeric stereographic projections that show the cumulative vein thickness (top left) and cumulative gold values (top right) in the same data. Note that the greatest accumulation of vein widths does not correspond to the maximum accumulation of gold. Clearly these are not simply fanned coeval veins but two different vein systems that overlap in orientation. So for example, drilling should be conducted so as to optimise intersection with the gold-bearing veins. More information pertinent to the vein system can be derived when the plots that show the mean values are also considered (right). For example, the mean thickness of veins is moderately uniform except for those with normals that are subhorizontal and trending northeast. This orientation corresponds to a very low frequency of data (from the frequency plot at top), so this abnormally high thickness value must correspond to only one or two veins at most. The mean gold values are uniformly low, again except for a maximum in the northeast quadrant. Notably, the mean gold maximum is about 35 to the mean thickness maximum, suggesting that the gold is most likely associated with thin extensional veins related to a fault that is now occupied by a thick vein (or veins).

Greatest cumulative vein thickness

Sub vertical thick vein(s)/fault A few thin Aubearing veins Veins with maximum cumulative Au

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WRAP-AROUND PROTRACTORS FOR ORIENTED DRILLCORE MEASUREMENTS It is a relatively simple matter to construct a wrap-around protractor to measure beta angles in oriented core using a software drawing package. The procedure is to measure the circumference of the core and divide it by 360 to calculate the spacing of a 1-degree beta angle. A set of parallel lines is then drawn, using a convenient spacing (eg. 10 degrees). Shown below is one such protractor constructed for 47.6mm NQ core. (Note that with multiple core barrels, core such as NQ-3 can have different diameters). Once constructed the protractor is printed onto stiff plastic film using a laser printer. (Laser printers give a finer, more durable line than most ink-jet printers). I use HiClear Crystal Clear 200 micron PVC Report Cover for the film. An accompanying downloadable brochure: HCO Oriented Core Templates can be downloaded from our website at: http://www.holcombecoughlinoliver.com/HCO_downloads.htm and contains printable protractors for common core sizes. Ensure that the printer does not rescale the pages (set the page scaling to NONE in Print manager). Two types of protractor are available: a simple wrap around beta angle protractor (shown at full-scale below). Use an ordinary protractor as shown in this manual to measure the alpha angle; Combined alpha-beta wrap around protractor. Although this template can be useful for larger core, the lines tend to be a little too busy for easy visibility, and the larger width of the protractor, necessary to show the alpha angle curves, makes it a little awkward to use.

Note: This protractor image is not to scale

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ABOUT US:
Holcombe Coughlin Oliver is a consortium of three independent international geological consultancies (European and Australian-based) specialising in the application of modern structural geology and hydrothermal fluid geochemistry to the global resource industry Rod Holcombe (PhD) has over 40 years of structural analysis experience in orogenic systems as both a teaching/research academic and a consultant to the minerals exploration industry. He is a specialist in the structural analysis of complex metamorphic terranes and shear zones with experience in Precambrian and Phanerozoic terranes in Australia, New Zealand, USA, Canada, Brazil, Argentina, Peru, Uruguay, Thailand, Laos, East and West Africa, the Balkans, Finland, and Siberia, and has considerable experience in structural and mapping short course training for professional geologists. Computer applications, manuals, and other products developed by Rod for use by structural and exploration geologists can be found at: http://www.holcombe.net.au/software/ Contact Rod: holcombecoughlinoliver.com
PO Box 593, Kenmore, Qld 4069, Australia: Ph +61 7 33786326

Tim Coughlin (MSc, PhD) is a structural geologist with particular experience in frontier target generation and risk analysis in emerging and developing countries. Tim has over 25 years of both mineral and petroleum exploration experience. He has worked on target-generation and deposit-scale problems in the central and northern Andes, the western Tethyan of the Balkans and Caucasus regions, the Papuan fold belt, northern China, Siberia and the Russian Far East, and eastern Australia. Tim has consulted to a wide range of resource industry clients, has held senior staff positions with well-known medium and large-scale companies, and has successfully guided an international exploration company from start-up to development. Contact Tim: tim@holcombecoughlinoliver.com Nick Oliver (PhD) is a specialist in mineralised hydrothermal systems, particularly in strongly structured environments. Experience includes IOCG, U and Mo (Mount Isa region), sediment and volcanic-hosted base metals (Century Zn, Mount Isa Cu-Pb-Zn, Chillagoe skarn Cu-Zn-Au, Finland Zn-Cu), greenstone-, BIF- and black slate-hosted vein gold deposits (Yilgarn, Brazil, Siberia), giant iron ores (Pilbara, Transvaal), and epithermal gold (New Zealand, Australia). Nick provides practical approaches to deal with complex alteration systems, restructuring of geochemical datasets and strategies, and identification of fluid pathways in complexly deformed rocks. He has 20 years experience in industry-based research and focussed short course training, including 13 years as the Professor of Economic Geology and Director of the Economic Geology Research Unit at James Cook University

Contact Nick: nick@ holcombecoughlinoliver.com


PO Box 3533, Hermit Park, Qld 4812, Australia: Ph +61 417764880

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